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Charles Cantrell

Breakfast and Dog Walk

Breakfast and Dog Walk

It’s my son’s toy train wrecked on the carpet,
and his whining. It’s the aspirin for my heart
and the anti-anxiety drugs, and how my inner life,
such as it is, is a pan of simmering bacon,
a blue jay hogging seeds while sparrows
fidget in the grass, and that’s just this morning.
But I can walk my dog in the snow
and declare a maple with no hat is beautiful.
What do dead leaves symbolize besides death?
A cold stove is out of order in a room full of
clucking chickens, but why would chickens be there?

Aren’t ideas, with no ham or beef on the bones,
dangerous and make the inner life sluggish and dull?
But someone loves the spotlight on the ice cream factory.
Someone loves the dinosaurs that chased humans
but won’t write about it—his brain, satisfied.
I lift dog turds from the snow, almost fall
in love with a quiet weathervane.
All this paying attention to my dog’s loose chain,
street signs, parked trucks, my neighbor’s blue ice sculptures,
a scarred red boat in a driveway—
all of it hard to deal with, even harder to define.

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Charles Cantrellwho is semi-retired from teaching English at Madison (WI) College, has poems in recent issues of Confrontation, Wisconsin Review, and Bareroot Review, New work is forthcoming in Clackamas Literary Review, Mudfish, Quarterly Review of Literature, Sandy River Review, and Soundings East.

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